PRINGLE -- When making an arrest, officers need to be ready to react at a moment’s notice.
A new agility course soon to be built at a Luzerne County school hopes to better prepare officers in the making and officers in uniform for that reality.
Law enforcement instructor Daniel Hunsinger walked with his students at West Side Career and Technical Center on Friday where a new 12-station agility training course will be placed.
With 34 years police experience under his belt and as the current chief in Forty Fort, Hunsinger said he has been shot at, kicked, and punched while trying to make an arrest.
“The obstacle course is designed to help police officers train for real-life possibilities in their departments when they're running after wanted people or people they are trying to apprehend,” Hungsinger said.
Before they can wear a badge, students need to pass an agility test.
Freshman Lily Welles said she had her heart set on becoming a K-9 officer for years.
“When you're in the academy and you're training, you already have a little bit of a head start. You're a little bit stronger than you were before,” Welles said.
Students are tasked with building the course themselves with a lot of help from the community.
Donated telephone poles from UGI will be used as balancing beams. A crawl tunnel will be made possible by Central Clay. Shawnee Concrete is giving its materials and there will be construction services from DPWs in Kingston and Forty Fort.
Lowe’s also gave a $5,000 grant.
“It's really nice to be able to connect and give back to our customers. We have a great partnership with West Side Tech. We're here quite a bit. We were able to give a large donation last year and then this year as well,” store manager of the Lowe’s in Edwardsville Jessica Vickerson said.
Hunsinger said there are double the number of law enforcement students now than there were three years ago. He said this course will set them apart from other officers in the making.
“I think it's going to improve my agility, my focus, maybe my hand-eye coordination for some drills,” Freshman Dalton Skasko said.
The obstacle course is one of the only ones of its kind in the area. Officers nearby can take advantage of it, too.
“We open it up to any department that wants to use it. All you have to do is contact the school, schedule it, and they're more than welcome to have access to it,” Hunsinger said.
Students will begin building the course next week. It should be finished this winter.